Dining Out: Sweet, savory pies are simply delicious

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Why: Owner Karen Shope opened the Vancouver Pie Company in June. Next to the popular Paper Tiger Coffee Roasters on Grand Avenue, the pie shop provides a quick stop for fruit and savory pies to go, and it offers a cozy dining room if you prefer to dine in.

Shope has been making pies for many years. She attended the Northwest Culinary Institute to hone her pie-related skills and prepare for going into business for herself.

With the holidays just around the corner, the Vancouver Pie Company is a place you might want to visit and consider putting on your list of holiday food sources.

Atmosphere: The space is inviting and spotless. Light blue and ivory decor complement the size and elements of the kitchen and dining area. Tables and chairs are classic black, and there is seating enough for approximately 10 people. Coffee service is set up at an embellished antique sideboard opposite the counter, and sodas are available from a small drink cooler. Customers can view the workings of the kitchen, just beyond the counter where the fruit pies are on display. The pie shop has an unhurried vibe, perfect for the soon-to-arrive rainy days of autumn.

What I tried: I decided on a full-size cherry pie and a few mini pies that included a marrionberry/blackberry pie, a blueberry pie, a peach pie and a chicken pot pie. I also took home a sausage quiche.

“Delicious” could sum up all the pies in a word. The fruit pies were more fresh-fruit-tart than sugar-laden-sweet, which I wholeheartedly appreciated.

In the cherry pie, Shope uses fresh, flash-frozen cherries. That’s a noteworthy distinction from the typical experience of a few store-bought cherries suspended in an excess of modified food starch (which causes me to always steer clear of said type of pie).

Shope’s other fruit pies are likewise full of fruit without a whole lot of anything else mixed in. The result is an unadulterated fruit pie.

The savory pies were meal-worthy with a superior, homemade quality. If ever you get the feeling that a savory pie was made especially for you, it will likely be here.

The chicken pot pie was filled with a generous amount of small-chopped chicken pieces, carrots, celery, onion and just the right amount of potato within a tasty, soupy base, which every so often was punctuated by pepper. When I first started eating the pie, I thought I should probably have a spoon in addition to a fork, but as I completed the pie, I found it was unnecessary because the crust soaked up enough of the soupy base so as not to leave any behind.

The quiche was a scrumptious creation that included sweet fennel sausage and broccoli. Each individual flavor was distinct without any one flavor taking the spotlight. The crust was perfectly suited in balance with the filling, and after a few minutes of heating in the oven, the top edge had a cracker quality to it.

Shope uses butter to create a crust that is thinner than most yet holds up to the ingredients without difficulty. It is less flaky than many pie crusts and reminded me of the crust on a hand pie. For some, the crust is what makes or breaks a pie. For me, it amounts to about 50 percent. With a fruit pie, I prefer a crust that is super flaky. With a savory pie, I prefer a thinner, crispier crust. Based on my crust preference, I enjoyed the savory pies more. Yet, the quality of the fruit filling made the fruit pies no less impressive.

Menu highlights beyond what I tried: A best-seller is the marionberry/blackberry. Shope also makes a chocolate walnut pie that has been a family tradition for 20 years.

Iced or hot tea is available in addition to coffee and soda.

Other observations: I found the service super friendly.

I took my pies home but will definitely return at a later date to dine in. Any pie can be heated for dining-in customers.

The menu changes based on availability of ingredients. Check the Facebook page to find out what’s in the oven.

Cost: Eight-inch pies are $13, and a 4-inch pies are $4. The quiche, for $4.50, is a personal size, as is the chicken pot pie, which is $6.50.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Telephone: 360-694-6097.

Where: 701 Grand Blvd., Vancouver. You may also find the restaurant on Facebook as vancouverpie.

Health score: Vancouver Pie Company has received a pre-opening inspection and is scheduled for a routine inspection soon. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants that score 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.